Martin Gottesfeld, who targeted a cyber attack on a children's hospital accused of facilitating institutionalised child abuse, is a week into his protest
The alleged hacker behind an attack targeted at a Boston hospital’s network over two years ago is currently on hunger strike, protesting against the system of abuse within juvenile behaviour modification facilities.
According to a report by the Verge, Martin Gottesfeld has entered his seventh day on hunger strike. The hacker knocked the Boston Children’s Hospital’s network off just before a fundraising run in 2014, in response to the controversial treatment of teenager Justina Pelletier, who was in their care, as well as other young people subjected to what Gottesfeld said “qualifies as torture under international law”.
The hacker was charged for the offence of conspiracy to commit computer fraud after his alleged part in the cyber attack. Gottesfeld controlled the YouTube channel that uploaded an Anonymous video that laid out the plans for the #OpJustina attack. He is still awaiting trial.
Justina Pelletier was a metabolic patient who was placed in state custody in 2013, despite widespread criticism. The hospital had decided the move was important for her health and wellbeing, and her parents brought a lawsuit against them.
The attack on the hospital’s network happened just as the institution was asking for donations. The FBI reported that it cost the hospital over $300,000. “I also knew from my career experience as a biotech professional that no patients should be harmed if Boston Children’s was knocked offline,” Gottesfeld said in his statement.
Speaking to the Verge, he said: “Like others, I was seriously concerned Justina would never recover physically or mentally from the trauma she was being put through, and it was even possible she could die. I have no regrets for standing up for her.”
In a general statement, Gottesfeld detailed horrific experiences that children endured in state custody: “American children, marched to death, starved, put into stress positions and solitary confinement. Forced to eat their own vomit and trade sexual favours for food. Made to endure simulated executions and being denied life-saving medical care.”
“Unfortunately in these cases, even when children died, law enforcement agencies rarely take meaningful action. For example, across the eight preventable deaths of institutionalised children examined in one of the GAO’s reports, there were only two criminal prosecutions, leading to a total of one month of jail time.”
He further called for a change in legislation that protects those in power from facing the consequences of institutionalised child abuse.
According to the Huffington Post, he with continue his hunger strike until two conditions are met: the presidential candidates must vow to work against the mistreatment Pelletier and others like her experienced, and the U.S Attorney for Massachusetts, who is prosecuting him, must cut out its “political”, aggressive prosecution style.